Applying to the Graduate Program


A student wishing to enroll for graduate study in our department must meet the general requirements for graduate standing in the University as outlined in the San José State University Catalog. Essentially, this means that you must have a B.A. or B.S. degree from an accredited college or university.

Your first step towards applying to our M.S. program is to contact specific faculty members that you are interested in working with. Because you will be working closely with a thesis adviser, it is helpful if your interests overlap. You can learn about the expertise of individual faculty and find their contact information at our Faculty webpage.

Will You Be Considered if You Don’t Have a Geology B.S.?

While many of the applicants to our graduate program have a B.S. degree in Geology (or a related field), we encourage applications from students with a wide variety of academic backgrounds. Indeed, we have had M.S. students in our department who were accepted with bachelor’s degrees in fields such as biology, journalism, and anthropology. However, to insure that M.S. candidates with a non-geology B.S. have a strong foundation in the Geosciences, they will need to complete 2 semesters each of calculus, chemistry, and physics, as well as the core classes for the B.S. degree and a minimum of four weeks of field camp. These classes can be taken concurrently with the graduate curriculum and can also be applied towards the elective requirements for the M.S. degree. In addition, classes taken at different institutions that are similar to our core B.S. classes can often be counted towards fulfilling these requirements. In most cases, coming into our M.S. program without a B.S. in Geology only adds an extra year of coursework.

For further information, please refer to San Jose State University's Graduate Admissions website or contact the Geology Department Graduate Advisor.

The Application Process

To apply to our graduate program, you must submit materials to both the university and the Geology department. For more detailed information, visit the Graduate Admissions' Admission Requirements webpage. All applicants must also be mindful of any and all relevant Deadlines.

Materials to the University:

  • The online application form.
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities.

For specific information about applying to the university as well as directions on getting started on your application process, visit the Graduate Admissions' Want to Apply webpage.

Materials for the Geology Department:

The Geology Department requires hard copies of the graduate questionnaire and the transcripts.  These should be sent to:

(C/O Graduate Advisor, San José State University, Department of Geology, One Washington Square, San Jose, CA 95192-0102)

The letters of recommendation (and the releases) can be sent to the address above as well or they can be emailed to: The annual deadline for application materials submitted to the Geology Department is April 1.

Financial assistance and opportunities

Financial assistance is available on a competitive basis in the form of graduate assistantships and departmental grants. Research assistantships funded by faculty grants are also available - contact individual faculty members to learn about these opportunities. In addition, many graduate students find part-time employment with regional government agencies and consulting firms.